NRA accuses White House of 'attack' on 2nd Amendment rights
The statement, issued shortly after the conclusion of the conference, deflated any prospect of an unlikely alliance between the White House and the gun lobby group as President Obama looks to push a set of new gun regulations in the coming month.
It also likely signals that the NRA will oppose any legislative attempt to change federal gun laws in the coming Congress.
"We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment," the group said in its statement.
"While claiming that no policy proposals would be 'prejudged,' this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans."
The president vowed a renewed push on the subject of gun violence after 20 six- and seven-year-olds were killed in a mass shooting last month at a Connecticut elementary school. Seven adults were also killed in the rampage.
Earlier Tuesday, Biden indicated that the task force on gun violence that he leads would have recommendations ready for the president ready by next Tuesday. The focus of those efforts "relate primarily to gun ownership, and the type of weapons we own," Biden said.
But the vice president emphasized that he believed the administration could accomplish "a great deal" on the issue of gun violence "without in any way imposing on and impinging on the rights of the Second Amendment."
The NRA seemingly disagreed, accusing the White House of "pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems."
"We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen," the group continued. "Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not."
The NRA, along with five other gun owners' groups, met with the vice president for just over an hour and a half Thursday afternoon. Biden was joined at the meeting by Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
The White House had previously indicated it hoped to find common ground with the gun lobby in the meeting. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the White House did not want to "prejudge the actions of organizations or groups who are stakeholders in this discussion."
"[The president] hopes that in the aftermath of Newtown that we are in a place that appropriate action, both legislatively and through other means, can be taken and will be supported broadly," Carney said. "You certainly have seen, when it comes to a number of the measures that the proposed legislation represent, that there is broad support publicly for those kinds of actions, and broad support among gun owners, broad support among members of the very organization that you mention."
But the organization said the conversation seemed focused exclusively on gun control, rather than "school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals."
In a press conference a week after the Newtown, Conn., shooting, NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre suggested that one way to prevent future violence in schools was to hire armed security to protect campuses. In an interview with "Meet the Press," Obama said he was "skeptical" of such a proposal.
In a statement earlier in the day, Biden outlined a series of proposals that could find their way into the president's eventual package. He that the federal government would revamp the way it collected data on gun violence, comparing current limits on data gathering with the 1970s-era restrictions on federal research over the causes of traffic fatalities.
The vice president also said many groups had suggested pursuing limits on high-capacity magazines for semiautomatic guns, along with universal background checks that would close the so-called gun-show loopholes.
That's on top of a push from the White House to renew the assault weapons ban, which expired during former President George W. Bush's administration after heavy lobbying from the NRA.
"The president has already called on Congress to act on an assault weapons ban, to act on a ban of high-capacity ammunition clips, and to confirm an ATF Director, and to close the loopholes in our background checks system," Carney said Thursday. "These are things that Congress can do and should do, and the president has called on Congress to do those things."